Works of Love
January 15, 2019
"Forgiveness is not an occasional act, it is a constant attitude."
Forgiveness is surely an expression of love, and the deepest book I have read of late on this topic is The Reds. The Yellows. The Blues. (Author Molly LaRue, Contributor Jim A. Larue). Jim, Molly's father, published this just a few months ago, 28 challenging years after Molly's murder in 1990.
I met with Jim a second time at the Starbucks on Cedar and Fairmont in Cleveland Heights. It was December 2006 just a few days before he delivered his renowned Forgiveness Statement in the courthouse of Perry County, PA, not far from Harrisburg, while standing before Molly's murderer. To this day, I recall our conversation and Jim quietly reading his statement at our corner table. On December 21, a few days later, Jim drove off to Pennsylvania.
In 1990, sixteen years earlier, his lovely daughter Molly LaRue and her friend Geoffrey Hood had camped for the night in a lean-to known as the Thelma Marks Shelter a few miles outside of Duncannon, PA, while hiking the Appalachian Trail from its starting point in Maine. Before dawn they were viciously attacked by Paul Crews. Their bodies were found on September 13, 1990. Molly, 25 years of age, of Shaker Heights, Ohio, had been tied up and stabbed eight times. Geoff was shot three times. The murderer was caught and was originally ordered to die by lethal injection.
In September 2018, Jim emailed me to mention that he had just published a book of Molly's replete with her brilliant illustrations and a beautiful Foreword that Jim wrote about her life. At the end Jim includes an Afterword about his reading his Forgiveness Statement in the Perry County courthouse, with a kind mention of the Institute for Research on Unlimited Love. This is followed by the Forgiveness Statement itself.
Again, the book is entitled The Reds. The Yellows. The Blues. (Amazon link). It really is the deepest of books about forgiveness, and it is very timely in our brash, acrimonious, and unforgiving era. I recommend it very highly and hope you will pick up a copy.
I asked Jim if the Institute could feature The Reds. The Yellows. The Blues. in a newsletter. He sent along the following message for our readers:
By Jim A. LaRue
"In l990, my daughter Molly and her friend Geoff Hood were murdered while hiking the Appalachian Trail from Maine to Georgia. Their murderer was captured, tried and sentenced to two death sentences though my wife and I were adamantly opposed to capital punishment.
My wife died in July of 2006 and just before Christmas of that same year I received a call from the County Prosecutor in the County where the trial for Molly and Geoff's murderer was held. He indicated that an appeal for the murderer had led to his getting a new trial. The Prosecutor said the county could not afford another trial and offered him life without parole which he accepted. The Prosecutor asked if I was OK with this arrangement and I immediately said yes. He then asked if I would like to come to the resentencing to speak directly to the defendant. I quickly agreed, though I had no idea what I would say and had just a few days to decide.
Lurking inside me over the years emerged the thought of my forgiving him for Molly's murder. But I was not sure how to put it together. A good friend told me about Stephen Post of The Unlimited Love Institute that was at that time based in Cleveland near where I lived. I called Stephen and explained my situation. He immediately agreed to meet me for lunch and started to loosen up my thoughts about forgiveness. My personal faith position is that there is absolutely nothing we do that can finally separate us from the Source of Creation, Life and Love. Not even murder. To know that Ultimate Love is to know the reality of forgiveness; it is to know that our task in this life is to do what love requires. Stephen agreed to meet me another time after I had prepared a draft of what I intended to share with my daughter's murderer. I left our second meeting convinced that forgiveness was the right thing for me to offer.
A special friend drove me to the court house and I was full of anxiety, but still had no doubt it was the thing to do. I have included my Forgiveness Statement at the back of Molly's book. When I started to read my statement by indicating I had come to forgive him, he raised his head and looked right at me and we maintained eye contact for the full statement. The ride home was totally different. I had absolutely no doubt I had done the right thing.
I often wonder how my offering forgiveness was internalized by him. His mother had abandoned his family when he was five years old. His ex-wife, at the trial, told my wife and I that the women he had murdered (he was a serial killer) had a strong resemblance to his mother. Molly was committed to working with severely troubled young people. How I wish someone with Molly's caring could have been present for her killer when he was a child."
- Jim LaRue
I am not going to copy Jim's Forgiveness Statement herein because to really appreciate it you need to read The Reds. The Yellows. The Blues. It is a book that you will read in about a half an hour but that you will contemplate for the rest of your lives.
Stephen G. Post, PhD, President
"The practice of forgiveness is our most important contribution to the healing of the world."
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